August 13 - 18, 2020
“Karla García’s Home and Land Project is a clay-based body of work inspired by the desert landscape and the intertwining notions of land, home, and identity. During an artist residency in early 2020 in St. Raphael, France, García began reflecting on what home means to her and her dual identity as a Mexican American artist living abroad. This led her to create a series of small-scale cactus sculptures in wire and terracotta clay—a material with a long history of use in sculpture, architecture, and earthenware throughout the world and a botanical form symbolic of her Latin American cultural identity. When García’s residency ended in March, she returned to Dallas just as international borders were closing and movement was becoming increasingly restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Confined to her home, the artist has continued the Home and Land Project, creating cactus sculptures more complex in form and larger in scale. She documents these works in their domestic settings, connecting the desert landscape of her upbringing to her current residence in Dallas. García builds the organic shapes using the coiling technique, then pinches the surfaces to create the vertical ridges common to certain cacti species native to the Chihuahuan Desert where she is from. She leaves the marks of her hands and fingerprints on the clay surfaces, only to sand those away in certain areas—an action García likens to her own experience living abroad, where she adapted to a new country and language, and forged new friendships, while leaving some behind.
García’s use of clay and her focus on her Mexican American identity recalls the work of Bosco Sodi and Rafa Esparza, while her interest in nature and botanical forms is reminiscent of the sculpture of Margarita Cabrera or Jean (Hans) Arp. Installed in the Nasher vestibule, García’s sculptures and photographic documentation are a testament to the enduring urge to create, even in challenging or unprecedented conditions, and the expansion of the definition of “home” beyond artificial borders.
Artist Karla García on Home and Land Project:
“The metaphor of the cactus is also to look at our own strengths to take on journeys and to bring awareness that migration is difficult for many people, including children. At the border of Texas and Mexico, many people become victims of unjust immigration laws, which put them in camps where they are treated inhumanely. With this work, I’m also honoring the lives of those people who have suffered. Victims of violence and broken families. The lives of those who are here safely and are making a better life. We are all part of this journey and understanding that we are all human with lives, with families, and friends, is something that should not be invisible. Our stories come with us through time and space. They shape who we are.”
About Karla García
Karla García is a Mexican-born American artist based in Dallas who creates installations and sculptures with clay, found objects, and other materials symbolic to migration and her Mexican heritage. Her research-based artwork is a connecting point from her own history, ancient histories, and how these shape her identity. García is a Professor of Art and ceramics assistant at the Dallas College Mountain View Campus. She completed an MFA degree in Ceramics and a Museum Education Certificate from the University of North Texas in May of 2019. García was awarded the top prize at the Sixth Annual Artspace 111 Regional Exhibition in 2019. That same year, she was selected as a visiting artist at the Dallas Museum of Art, where she created a four-month interactive installation titled Carrito de Memorias that was selected to be exhibited at a Latin American Fine Art Competition in New York. García recently attended an international artist residency in St. Raphael, France where she began the exploration of her current work Home and Land Project.
For more information please visit the Nasher website.”
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